The bra and belt have a base cover and are strengthened ready for the trims and metal work. Adornments can really make a tribal belly dance costume stand out from the crowd. Here’s how I went about applying them for Lyza’s costume.
The side ties for the bra need to be added before any trims. In my pattern drafting post I described the necessity for strong stitching on the side ties as they will be taking most of the weight of the bra, you’ll want to get these out of the way before adding any of the trims.
Once you’ve cut out the straps, they can be lined – leaving an opening where they are to be attached to the bra. First the strap needs to be pinned in place and checked it is at the correct angle. Next stitch the strap to the bra, as this needs to be a strong join it is best to stitch it to the underwire casing of the bra. The casing is made of a strong woven fabric and shouldn’t rip or stretch over time. I usually use two strands of thread when stitching and stitch backwards and forwards a few times.
Taking some time to think about how the layers of trim will build up will help to ensure that nothing is missed out, overlap in the correct order. One of the worst things is attempting to slot something in or worst of all undoing work that has taken hours to complete!
For my trim layers I started with adding rivets to the bottom edge of the bra. These were a new adornment to me and took some time to get used to. They looked simple enough but ended up being a little more fiddly than I anticipated. They tend to pull and distort the fabric if you aren’t careful. In the end this was remedied with delicate placement of the rivet pins, so that the fabric is stretched sightly into the four pins before they are bent inwards.
The velvet trim edging the bra needed to be stitched in place next. Starting from the outside I pinned the velvet around the neckline ensuring it didn’t pull. At this stage it is important to do a lot of pinning to ensure the shape is correct as layer will be one of the most visible when the costume is complete.
To create the shaping around the neck I first turned under and pinned the velvet starting with the center front continuing all the way round and then secured it with small invisible slip stitches. The last step with the velvet was to fold the fabric up and over the edge of the bra and stitch it to the inside with a quick tacking stitch, there will be many other layers of stitching on top of this, so it wasn’t necessary to spend a great deal of time securing this part.
Next the heavy antique gold trim needed to be applied, again pinning was key to making sure that everything was smoothly attached.
After this was completed I could see the design starting to come through, and next to come was one of my favorite bits – sequins!